I attribute much of what I know about wet-fly fishing to him and a detailed chapter about him in Dave Hughes’ Wet Flies book. And, getting a chance to fish with him at Arkansas’ White River was a revelation.
One of Davy’s wet-fly patterns is the Muddler Daddy. He uses it as an attractor-style fly as part of a wet-fly rig. The fly is a bit complicated to tie, but you can quickly get the hang of it. One key feature involves pheasant tail legs (a “how to” video here). You also need to spin deer hair (best video I’ve found on that is here).
The fly offers movement and pushes water, too. It looks like a decent meal, and I think it mimics a sculpin.
The pattern didn’t do much for me last autumn, but last weekend, it did extremely well. The key technique was to impart some action to the fly, raising it up and down in the current, at times. At the end of the swing, finger-retrieving the rig back to me also worked. I used an Orvis “fast sink” poly leader to try and make sure that the rig didn’t just swing but rose, too.
The strikes were vicious. Half of the hits were on the Muddler Daddy, and the remainder were on a trailing-and-small soft hackle.
For me, it’s a simple three-part sequence:
- Add some hare’s ear dubbing via a dubbing loop, and attach the pheasant tail legs.
- Put on a deer hair collar. Then, add on another chunk of deer hair, and spin it. (I highly recommend GSP thread, as it’s very strong.)
- Form the head with a flexible razor blade (which isn’t that easy to find in stores these days; Amazon.com link here).